16/12/2022

Light at the end of the tunnel after homelessness

A service user standing next to a project at a scheme

The team at Kent House, Hightown’s temporary supported accommodation service in St Albans for single homeless people, plays an essential role in helping residents move on with their lives.

Colleagues there have recently supported Paul, 56, who moved to the service in March 2022, following the homelessness pathway from the Open Door night shelter.

The move was a turning point for Paul, who has experienced long-term homelessness; when he first arrived at Kent House, he was struggling to cope with mental health problems, alcohol addiction and anti-social behaviour. With a secure, comfortable room to call his own and the compassionate care of the Kent House team, he has begun to address his challenges and negative behaviours, engaged with various local support services - including Change Grow Live and The Living Room - and received professional help for his mental health. He’s also embraced life at the service, taking part in Kent House’s regular pool nights and keeping busy by reading and baking, something which helps with his mental health.

Paul says: “I was homeless, I’d been in and out of the Open Door night shelter for about four or five months, I’d been drinking a lot and was being arrested for being drunk and disorderly. I needed somewhere permanent where I could get some help. The staff have been very supportive and helpful. It’s very relaxed – you can talk to any of the team any time you like and they will help if they can. They make sure you’re settling in, put you in touch with relevant agencies like mental health and local addiction charities and help you with claiming benefits. Since moving here, I’ve given up drinking, calmed down and got the help I need. I’ve got my priorities right.”

Trina Ward, Kent House Scheme Manager, comments: “Paul has done so well since he came to Kent House – the staff almost don’t recognise the person who joined us six months ago. He’s proof that even for people who have been through many years of homelessness, there can still be light at the end of the tunnel.”

Operations Manager Philippa Gardner, adds: “Being homeless has a significant impact on a person’s mental and physical health. The support provided by the team at Kent House is invaluable in helping service users rebuild their lives - their patience, perseverance and empathy make a real difference."